Tag Archive for Polo Mallet

First Look: Northern Standard Hourglass Mallet Head

Northern Standard Hourglass (3)

By this point, you should know already that Northern Standard and Modifide shared information/planning on their mallet heads and shafts (explaining the similarity between the two companies’ designs). So I’m not going to go into that whole rigmarole about how similar this mallet head is to the Modifide ARC.

Point in fact, I think one of the few things they share is the hourglass design and the material used. Everything else seems pretty different, if you ask me.

Northern Standard Hourglass (1)Northern Standard sent me this mallet head (link here) to test out and give my honest feedback on, so I gave it to one of our local heavy hitters to get his opinion on the head and what makes it different. Irish (the heavy hitter in question) was more than happy to put this mallet together, having been impressed with the Modifide I was using and always excited to get something free that isn’t a potato.

Basics: look and feel

First, some of the details direct from Northern Standard:

  • Weight: 96 grams
  • Length: 5″ / 12.7cm
  • Outside Diameter: 2.5″ / 6.35cm
  • Inside Diameter: 2.125″ / 5.4cm

Northern Standard Hourglass (2)It struck me that, unlike the ARC, the NS head seemed more…how do I put this…mechanical than artsy? The ARC has a gradual curve to it that makes it seem like it was whittled down by some artisan craftsman named Hans or something. The NS looks like straight up science went into it. Maybe a better way to put it is this: the ARC looks like the entire head was built to “be” the curve, whereas the NS head looks like it started with the traditional shape and then changed the ends to fit the new design.

Maybe that isn’t a better way to explain it. Hell.

Northern Standard Hourglass (4)Anyway, it doesn’t make a noticeable difference, really. It comes down to preference on that point.  Though, if I were more brushed up on my material science, I’d like to think that the more solid looking NS head would wear a little better against the extra pressure put on the hitting/scooping ends of the head.

Play

When I asked Irish what he liked after a day of play, he said he liked how hard it hit, and how it just felt like a quality product. He also explained to me how he felt like he could look away from the ball a little more, as the hourglass figure allowed him to know where the ball would be (rather than the possibility of it just rolling off of his mallet).

Northern Standard Hourglass (9)He isn’t a scooper, but he says it is “adequate” at that. After four hours of play, wear was minimal and he felt confident it would last in the long run (something important to all players, as the price of this is $28 dollars pre-shipping).

I then asked Irish if he felt like the design of the head was making a noticeable difference in his play. To that he told me he wasn’t sure – it might just be that the design is “different”, and different is okay, kids. Different is healthy.

Overall

No red flags with the first-touch of this head from Northern Standard. I’ll ask Irish what he thinks in a few weeks after regular play, but I’m willing to say (as I generally say with NS products), that you won’t regret the purchase based on quality of build. We’ll see what Irish makes of his new hourglass figure in the coming weeks!

Buying a Complete Mallet – Next Step?

St. Cago does it, Magic does it, MILK does it with their sexy mounting system,  and pretty soon (I suspect), everyone is going to do it.

They’re gonna do it real good.

Buying a complete mallet from a company first struck me as a waste of money and of the personal enjoyment of building your own whacking stick. After thinking about it, though, I have come to the completely subjective opinion that the built mallet for purchase is a logical step and more than likely one that will expand quite a bit in the coming years.

I’m trying to look at it through a historic lens of supply and demand.

Essentially, people create the things they need from whatever they have (demand), eventually smarter people realize they could turn a buck, and they begin making the specific material the first set of people want to purchase (supply), and then those people use that material to create the things they need.

Example: people build dwellings out of local timber, mud, and bear shit. Eventually a general store opens that sells hammers, nails, and bear shit at a modest fee for people to purchase. Home builders are still doing the work themselves, but they are getting a better quality home.

But then the consumers get lazy, and the suppliers get sharp. Suppliers begin offering not only the parts you need to create that house, but the entire house! Now you don’t even need to swing a hammer!

And so it goes with most everything in a consumer culture, and so it will go with mallet making.

Clearly I’d be a fool to think that the purchase of just mallets or just heads will go away (ok – I am a fool, but not because I think that). The way I see it, companies will either begin manufacturing their own mallets that can be cut to size by the polo player or they will make arrangements with other polo making companies to buy heads at bulk and offer them up as part of the deal. This happens a lot in Lacrosse, and I imagine in other sports too. A supply culture will begin to exist between polo making companies, and that will lead to a more unified force in creating bike polo equipment, which will make for better equipment. Capitalism at its finest.

So don’t be so incredulous when you see more companies like St. Cago or Magic offering pre-built mallets for our sport. It’s just the next step.

Goldfish in the Heels of Your Shoes: Mounting System Madness

Let’s just do a quick  count here:

  1. Fixcraft’s Fixnut mounting system
  2. The now defunct but still great T-nut system
  3. Milwaukee’s new tooth’ed bolt/shaft mounting system
  4. MILK’s notched mounting system

All three of these fine companies have come up with fine mounting systems, and all of them do the job of keeping your mallet head attached to your mallet.

And so does a simple, 5 cent screw.

So why do bike polo equipment manufacturers go for developing all of these proprietary mounting systems? Are we just buying into fads or uniqueness instead of saving money and time by using what works?

I think there are a few factors. For one thing, there is an aesthetic achieved through the use of any of those listed mounting systems. A clean looking mallet is nice and all, but outside of vanity this serves almost no purpose.

Some may point to re-usability – all three of these systems let you re-use equipment in a modular way, which is a good case for all of them. But then again, think of the price and quality of wear: a cheap screw is…well…cheap. it also creates a small impact on the head of the mallet, allowing for multiple screw positions as a player rotates the head for wear. The biggest impact here is on the shaft of the mallet, which will inevitably begin wearing as you drill into it repeatedly. If you don’t believe me, just ask your mom about our night life.

mom joke: -1.

 My point to this rambling diatribe is this: Before buying into the next big mallet hardware attachment system, ask yourself if it’s superior to the most basic one: is this better than a simple screw, and if it is, why?

 

How to Build a Mallet: Instructional by Someone Else

Hey all-

I was going to write an article here about how to build a sweet action polo mallet, but the good folks at Harcourt Bike Polo already did such a bang up job with it – well, I didn’t seem much of a point to doing the work over.

The only point I disagree with: in the tutorial they don’t make a hole in the bottom of the pipe to allow for the pole to have a bit more stability. I’m not here to tell anyone how to do anything – but I don’t do it that way, and I’m awesome.

Anyway, take a peek at the site, it’s plum full of good info.

(Yes, I’m watching a western right now, and yes, it’s affecting my writing style good an’ plenty).

Latent Agression Fnds a Safe Outlet

Well, despite the ugly weather Friday night, we played some amazing games Saturday morning.
Arrived around 9:20 to a rink that was about 25% covered in ice.   Literally spent the good part of 30 minutes scraping ice with windshield scrapers, brooms, mallets, anything that would do the job.
It must of worked pretty well, because Ted is the only one that repeatedly crashed in the same spot.
Here we are looking fat and sassy.

(That’s me in the grey, wishing i had a donut or some cookies. )
Took part in a pretty intense crash at the end of the last game, taco’d a wheel, sent kyle flying through the air with his arms outstretched, and managed to piss myself off bad enough to throw my bike out of the court.  Rarity for myself.   Good times though.
I was dared to take my aggression out on a water bottle that was for some reason deemed ‘unbreakable’…
Horses kick hard